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theEweekly Wrap: staff loss, sleeping apps and sued publishers

Sony sheds staff Sony has reported that it will cut 10,000 jobs over the next twelve months in an attempt to bring the company back into profit. This downsizing will mean that 6 per cent of the workforce is lost, which includes staff from the businesses Sony will be forced to sell during its cut back.

This staff reduction comes after Sony forecasted a record annual net loss of $6.4bn (£4bn). This is now the fourth year that the company has been in the red, while its share price has also fallen by 40 per cent over the past twelve months.

In an attempt to see profits in the future, Sony has set up a transformation plan and will now streamline its focus to concentrate on three main areas – digital imaging, games consoles and mobile devices. Kazou Hirai, who took over as CEO last month, told Japanese reporters that he is prepared to take “painful steps” to help Sony return to a strong position.

Sweet dreams Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman has developed an iPhone app as part of an experiment into the manipulation of dreams. As a participant sleeps, the Dream:ON app plays a “soundscape” whereby music evokes certain scenes in order to trigger particular images, memories and experiences. The sounds will begin once the phone has detected that the individual is no longer moving – a signal that the dream state will soon begin.

Professor Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire said: “Getting a good night’s sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people’s productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical wellbeing. Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams. This experiment aims to change that.”

Participants will be awoken by an alarm at the end of a dream to submit a brief description. It is thought that around 10,000 people will take part in the experiment.

An e-book issue Apple and a number of major book publishers are being sued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over e-book pricing issues. It is thought that the DOJ launched an investigation in March after an alleged deal took place between Apple and the five publishers: HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Hachette SA.

It has been suggested that Apple allowed publishers to set their own prices for books sold on the iPad while also providing them with 30 per cent of the profits. Papers filed at New York’s Southern District state: “To effectuate their conspiracy, the publisher defendants teamed up with defendant Apple, which shared the same goal of restraining retail price competition in the sale of e-books.”

As a result of the publisher-set prices, Amazon has had to raise its e-book prices. Prior to the alleged deal, Amazon would buy books from publishers and set its own retail fee. However, the company has been forced to increase the selling price so that books could remain available on the Kindle.

Written by lauren_knowles_swapLauren Knowles
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